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Ruger Grip Frame Removal
"I Want To Be A Gunsmith" - Part 1
By: Chris Whisler

This tutorial is for the folks that haven't a clue about gunsmithing but need to get their grip frame off of their Ruger because being the artistic nut that I am, I won't fit your new custom grips without it.


Do this over a table with good lighting.  Kitchen tables make great workshop areas as they have handy access to refrigerators, comfy chairs and even a sink to clean dirty gun and car parts in.  Married guys might want to wait and do this when the wife isn't at home.


The instructions and photos below are for a New Model Ruger but the procedure is basically the same for other Ruger single actions.  Photos are of a 50th Anniversary Ruger with NEW XR3 grip frame.  


  1. Make sure the gun is not loaded!  It's also a good idea to remove the cylinder at this time.  You don't have to remove the cylinder but I usually do for safety and it lets everyone else around you know that the gun is not loaded.  If a single action doesn't have a cylinder, there is no way it can go bang.
  2. Remove grip screw and grips.  If unable to do this, proceed to step 9 and wait for next week's lesson.
  3. Pull the hammer all the way back and hope that you did step 1 correctly.  With hammer all the way back in full cock position, you will see a small hole at the bottom of the hammer strut just under the mainspring.  Insert a small nail into the hole (see photo 1).  If you don't have a nail, a piece of wire, paperclip or pin on the back of your wife's favorite diamond broach will work.  This keeps the mainspring compressed, making it easier to remove the grip frame.  Now, pull the trigger and lower the hammer.  The hammer strut should now be loose.
  4. With the correct size screwdriver, remove the two screws on top of the backstrap, just under the hammer.  Be careful not to mar the finish of the gun with the screwdriver or booger (technical term) the slots of the screws. There are five screws in total that hold the grip frame to the cylinder frame and they are not all the same.  Lay the screws out so that you can tell which holes they go back into. 
  5. Remove the three screws on the bottom of the grip frame, two in back of the trigger guard and one in front.  Again, laying them out so to take note of which holes they are removed from.  Yes, I can see one of them is much longer...put it down.
  6. Slowly remove the grip frame from the cylinder frame taking note of the pawl spring on the back of the cylinder frame, left side of hammer (see photo 2) and the cylinder latch spring and plunger (see photo 3).  Remove the cylinder latch spring and plunger and put them in a safe place.  If the pawl spring and plunger come out easily and you are afraid of loosing them, remove and keep them with the cylinder latch spring and plunger.  A good place to keep the small parts is in the original gun box, pistol rug or a clear glass or plastic jar with a lid.
  7. Place the screws back in the same holes in the cylinder frame that they were removed from until it is time for reassembly.
  8. Leave the hammer strut, mainspring and internal safety lock (if your Ruger has one) in the grip frame and send them to me with the grip frame.  IMPORTANT; Keep the nail (or pin of the diamond broach) in place until after reassembly.
  9. Package and ship the grip frame as instructed on our Firearm Shipping Guide page.
  10. Put tools away and clean off kitchen table before the wife gets home.


Assembly is the reverse of disassembly.  I'm sure all you backyard auto mechanics have read that line before.


Next week's lesson:
How to Fix Your Wife's Diamond Broach or "I Want To Be A Jeweler" - Part 1
Ruger Grip Frames
Over the years Ruger has used different grip frames for their single actions.  Below you will find information for some of the more popular Ruger grip frames that Chris makes grips for.  You can contact us if you need further assistance identifying your Ruger grip frame type.

     Year               Grip Frame                               Gun

1953 to 1962           XR3                  Single Six, Flattop Blackhawks

1962 to 1973           XR3-RED           Single Six, Super Single Six, Old Army

1972 to Present       XRN-3RED          Single Six, Blackhawk, Vaquero

2004 to Present       NEW XR3           New Vaquero, Anniversary Blackhawks

 Click on image to enlarge
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Providing customers with high quality, custom order Ruger and Colt grip panels.
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